DELAND, Fla. – Jacksonville University baseball was dealt adversity early, and could not overcome a hot hitting Stetson team on Saturday night at Melching Field.
Playing without starting pitcher Tyler Santana, who was a late scratch, #24 JU (31-16, 8-6) fell behind early and lost 8-2 to the Hatters (37-11, 11-3).
"Santana has had some lingering issues over the past couple of weeks and did not respond well to treatment this week," said Head Coach Chris Hayes. "It wasn't our day today. The guys on the mound didn't perform very well and offensively, we showed a spark early, but didn't do much after the fourth."
After Jacksonville led off the game with a hit from Cory Garrastazu, he was stranded at third. Stetson put two on against Austin Temple (2-1) in the bottom of the first via walks, before a double gave Stetson an early 1-0 lead.
The Hatters would add three more and chase Temple in the third, when a leadoff triple was followed by a one-out RBI double. Matt Meyer struck out the first man he faced before walking the next two and surrendering a two-run, two-out single.
JU responded right back with its best offensive inning of the series. A leadoff single by Angel Camacho and a one-out base hit for Jacob Southern set the table for Connor Stephens, who with two-outs, hit a cue-shot down the third base line for a double that scored two to cut the lead in half.
Stetson had an immediate answer in the bottom of the fourth, when the leadoff man walked and came around to score on a sacrifice fly, making it 5-2 and starting the stretch of insurance for the Hatters.
Stetson starter Jack Perkins did not allow a baserunner after giving up the double to Stephens in the fourth.
A leadoff double in the sixth set up a home run to make it 7-2. Stetson scored its final run in the seventh when they strung together three consecutive singles, the latter one of the RBI variety.
It is just the second series loss of the season for Jacksonville, and snapped a nine-consecutive series win streak. With the loss, the Dolphins fall back to third in the ASUN behind Stetson and Kennesaw State.
Jacksonville sends Spencer Stockton to the mound tomorrow at 1 p.m. The game airs on ESPN3 and mixlr.com/judolphins.
"Adversity is going to continue to come our way," said Hayes. "Tomorrow is an opportunity to respond from Friday and Saturday and hopefully salvage the series."